If we tie the quavers over, we get an even more syncopated sound. The crotchet beat has in effect been ‘anticipated’ (pulled forward).
The beat map audio plays straight (even) quavers, but note the instruction to 'swing' the quavers in the actual riff.
This riff has swing quavers also.
Here’s a previous riff (slightly adapted) with the new left hand:
The riff applies a beat pattern to this ‘raw material’:
The next example will show you how useful this idea of ‘applying a pattern to raw material’ is.
Rock’n’roll music is a good style for practicing these two-handed syncopated beat and rhythm patterns because it often uses the same pattern right the way round the chord sequence.
The fifth beat pattern in this module has a classic rock’n’roll rhythm in the left hand (bass). Here’s the original:
For now, let’s concentrate just on the bass:
Practise counting and clapping the rhythm.
We might recognise this catchy and useful rhythm better if we count eight quavers to a bar instead of four crotchets. Our count will then look like this:
Count this out loud, stressing the counts with taps on them:
Clap along, and tap you foot an even four to the bar if you possibly can.
The rhythm might be clearer still if you count how many quavers each beat is worth:
The classic rock’n’roll version of this beat and rhythm pattern is as follows:
If you think that sounds a bit heavy, so drop the right hand quaver chord where the left hand is playing and play to this beat map:
You ‘apply the beat and rhythm pattern’ to the ‘raw material’ (the two-handed G chord in the example above) and get this:
The left hand notes are the chord tones of a simple root position triad. (If you have studied the Musicarta Pyramids Variation series, you will know this as a Basic Music-making Position, or ‘play one, miss one, play one, miss one, play one’ chord.) This left hand is also part of ‘the pattern’.
You break up the left hand chords and play the bottom, middle, top notes on the quaver counts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
(1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2)
... and play right hand chords on any quaver counts where the left hand isn’t playing.
The music MS is at the bottom of the page, but try to play the riff without it first.
In rock'n'roll riffs, quavers seven and eight in the left hand are often filled with little tunes that approach the next bass note:
Here the audio track of the riff:
Here's a slowed-down study to help you get the bass line. Notice that:
Copy the audio file:
The last beat and rhythm riff in this module is the most advanced. Follow the build-up method, tapping each hand separately, counting out loud and using the TLR analysis.
Rehearse the right hand first. Tap out the following pattern:
We are going to make a New Orleans-style piano riff by combining the left and right hands, as follows:
Your tapping needs to be very secure before you add in the notes. The raw material is this 12-bar chord progression in D:
Here’s the audio file. Note that slowed-down practice segments follow.
Here is the pattern in D, with a slowed-down audio for practicing:
The slash-and-dot sign:
...means ‘play the same as in the previous bar’, so you repeat the pattern three times until you get to the G chord (bar 5), where you ‘play the pattern in G’:
Here is this 12-bar chord sequence in a table:
These examples show why a rhythm-pattern approach to popular music is so effective.
Rhythmic patterns, which are easy to generate, themselves suggest attractive riffs. Then you 'apply' the pattern to a chord sequence to get a ready-made performance.
In addition, practising the repeating rhythmic patterns in your favourite popular music on their own speeds up the learning process.
Here is the MS of the riff referred to earlier:
This page is one of Musicarta.com’s many free piano lessons online. Click up to the Musicarta home page for an overview of the site and use the tabs on the navbar to access the various section directory pages.
This module is one of Musicarta’s Beat and Rhythm pages. Click up to the Musicarta Beat and Rhythm directory page here to see what else in available to help you add winning rhythms to all your keyboard material.
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